Command Centre

AI-powered computer vision enabling situational awareness

Published on: February 2023

If, as the well-used maxim says, knowledge is power, then tools to establish situational awareness become ever more important in an increasingly complex world.

Across military, police and security forces, from the vast expanses of the oceans, to muddy battlefields and long border patrols, developing accurate and timely situational awareness is a challenging requirement. Airborne ISR is a key pillar in contributing to this operational need.

Now with geo-strategic circumstances deteriorating due to the Ukraine War and tensions associated around Taiwan and the South China Sea, combined with the expanding network of people and narcotics trafficking, demand for airborne ISR is accelerating globally.

“This is where Sentient’s suite of solutions plays an increasingly important role in searching for potential threats, illegal activity and saving lives,” says Paul Harris, Global Business Development Director at Sentient Vision Systems. A former military officer with operational service in Iraq, he has experience in both defence acquisition and subsequent defence industry roles in the development and marketing of new platforms and capabilities.

Sentient have long pioneered autonomous detection solutions for EO and IR video which quickly and reliably find small, hard to detect objects in both maritime and land domains. Whether it be tactical vehicles or dismounted operatives, Sentient’s solutions will detect all movement within the field of view, down to a pixel or two. Likewise objects on the ocean surface such as fast boats, rubber rafts, fishing buoys and people in the water are all readily detected whilst filtering out most false positives generated by choppy sea conditions.

Sentient’s flagship ViDAR (Visual Detection And Ranging) sensor suite uses a combination of Sentient’s computer vision and deep learning, to autonomously detect, geo-locate, track and classify objects across a wide field of view. In the maritime domain ViDAR has a proven probability of detection of greater than 96% on first pass for small targets up to Sea State 6. A ViDAR-equipped UAS or manned aircraft can provide coverage of a search area up to 300 times greater than one without ViDAR.

Sentient also provides their Kestrel Moving Target Indication (MTI) technology for application on a wide range of EO/IR gimbal sensor systems for most of the dominant market players. Kestrel adds an incredible step-up in the ability for such systems to autonomously detect and track small targets – greatly amplifying the effectiveness of these premium EO/IR gimbal sensor systems. High performance MTI allows for fast tracking of target detection and associated response times and greatly reduces surveillance operator fatigue.

He adds: “With over 3,500 systems deployed, Sentient’s solutions enhance the performance of EO/IR operations for many agencies and forces worldwide. Our technology enables quicker search, filtering and subsequent rapid identification of targets. In turn this provides users with faster deployment of appropriate assets, improving mission success rates.”

Sentient Vision Systems’ ViDAR Maritime system is currently undergoing U.S. Department of Defense Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) for employment with the US Marine Corps. The ViDAR systems are installed on the in-service Stalker UAS for ISR missions for amphibious and littoral operations. Success in this program will see ViDAR roll out for this and other associated airborne ISR applications.

ViDAR system in a conformal pod configuration under the cockpit has been operational in the Australian Maritime Safety Authority since 2016.

ViDAR software in a step-stare configuration has been operational in the US Coast Guard Insitu ScanEagle since 2015.

Sentient’s Kestrel Land – AI-based Object Detection and Tracking Software for UAV Surveillance & SAR